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The cognitive approach,
treatments and evaluation
AS Psychology, AQA A, unit 2-
individual differences
(psychopathology)…read more

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The cognitive approach
Focuses on distorted thinking patterns of individuals.
Its not life circumstances that effect people, but
the way they perceive and evaluate these
circumstances and events. Thoughts effect our
behaviour and distorted thoughts (cognitive errors)
lead to abnormal behaviour. Unhealthy individuals
make cognitive errors which include:
· Automatic thoughts that tend to be negative
· Attributions that tend to be negative
· Inaccurate expectations
· Over-generalisation…read more

Slide 3

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The cognitive approach
· maximisation
These thoughts can be monitored and changed. A change
in these thoughts will lead to a change in behaviour…read more

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The cognitive approach- evaluation
· Only focuses on current thoughts and doesn't deal with
past thoughts or events so it is less likely to cause upset.
Also past experiences can be inaccurate.
· NHS use it as part of therapy as it helps individuals to
take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.
Therefore because cognitive therapies are widely used, it
suggests that they are effective and that the underlying
model is valid
· Reductionist- only focuses on cognitive factors and not
other factors such as biological factors, giving a limited
understanding of the mental illness in question…read more

Slide 5

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The cognitive approach- evaluation
· Hard to measure a patients thoughts accurately as
the therapy relies on patients reports of their
distorted thoughts. This is subjective and therefore
unscientific and unreliable. This means that evidence
supporting the model may also be unreliable and
invalid.…read more

Slide 6

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Cognitive therapy- CBT
Works by identifying cognitive errors and alters them so the
behaviour changes. Patients are told to dispute these
errors by:
· Empirical disputing: distorted thinking may not be
consistent with reality (where is the proof that this belief
is accurate)
· Logical disputing: distorted thinking doesn't follow
logically from the information available (does thinking this
way make sense)
· Pragmatic disputing: emphasises lack of usefulness in
distorted thoughts (how is this belief going to help me)
This changes the patients distorted thoughts into positive
and rational beliefs. Therapy occurs once a week for up to
20 weeks…read more

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